‘Innocent people can and do rot in jail’: Convicted businessman makes desperate plea for help ahead of sentencing

A prominent businessman has seemingly made a desperate plea for support to avoid prison ahead of his sentencing for indecent assault and trying to bribe one of his victims.

The wealthy Kiwi was found guilty by a High Court jury in March of indecently assaulting three men in the early 2000s, 2008 and 2016.

The man, who continues to maintain name suppression, was also convicted of twice trying to pervert the course of justice by offering a bribe for the 2016 victim to drop their claims.

Ahead of his sentencing later this month, which has been delayed due to the businessman’s health concerns, the influential man appears to have emailed more than 100 people and organisations asking for letters of support to present to the judge.

This week’s email, the contents of which have been obtained by the Herald, followed an earlier message appealing for assistance in the case.

“Some time ago we sent you the attached email asking for a letter of support but it appears that there has been no response,” the email reads, which ends with the businessman’s name typed.

“I would greatly appreciate such support … I am innocent of all charges as I have stated in my earlier email,” he wrote.

When the businessman’s sentencing was delayed, prosecutor Henry Benson-Pope indicated the Crown would be seeking a period of incarceration for the wealthy man.

In the email, the businessman confidently claimed “we will win the appeal” but said it may not be heard until potentially next year.

The businessman seemingly said: “I would doubt I would survive any period in prison. In these circumstances innocent people can and do rot in jail only to be cleared some time later. Such is the law.”

Throughout the case, the businessman has strenuously denied the charges and said he was the victim of an “amazing blackmailing circuit”.

The man’s lawyer, David Jones QC, has earlier indicated his client will appeal his convictions, one of which was for hiring PR consultant Jevan Goulter for an elaborate attempt to dissolve the case and became known as the “Gold Coast plot” in 2017.

Jones did not immediately reply to the Herald’s request this morning for comment about the businessman’s purported email.

The email asked those who received it for a letter of support “if you have anything good to say about me”, which will be presented to Justice Geoffrey Venning.

“The sentencing date has now been moved to 27th of May so there is still time for you to act.”

The email also stated there “is no breach of name suppression” or any media risk to offering support “as long as these letters are sent only to my lawyer and he can send the select few to the judge and no one else will need to see them”.

During the trial earlier this year, Jones told jurors the complainants had fabricated stories for ulterior motives, including revenge over failed business ventures and wanting to be part of the MeToo movement.

The businessman’s manager, who has name suppression, was also on trial and jointly charged over attempting to dissuade the complainant during the Gold Coast scheme.

He was found guilty and sentenced by Justice Venning to 12 months’ home detention last week.

New Zealand entertainer Mika X, also known as Mika Haka, was also convicted of helping the businessman attempt to derail the court case.

He was sentenced to 11 months’ home detention after admitting two charges of attempting to dissuade and bribe the 2016 indecent assault victim from giving evidence.

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